OUR MEMORIES
Fownes, Lawrie 1937-2015


Well Lived, Widely Loved

 

Lawrie Fownes was a champion trainer in India, a pioneer in Hong Kong professional racing, and father of champion trainer Caspar.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1937-09-17, Lawrie was born in India.

He was a son of a cavalryman and horse trainer of British descent.

Aged 23, Lawrie became the youngest trainer licensed in India.

He went on to become the five-time champion trainer there and notched more than 650 wins, including most of the sub-continent’s major races.

 

 

BACKGROUND

 

1970s, the hype of Hong Kong professional racing was introduced to Lawrie by Geoff Lewis, the jockey of J H Goswell.

1981, by a brave decision, Lawrie was 43 when he came with his family to continue his training career in Hong Kong.

He started with 12 horses, of which he described seven as brumbies (an Australian term for the wild, unbroken horses of the bush).

1981-09-30_2, the first horse he ever saddled up in Hong Kong was GRAND CHOICE (AL076), a beaten favorite.

1981-12-23_6, the first horse he ever won in Hong Kong was also GRAND CHOICE, and also ridden by C C Chan at a night race meeting on the sand track.

After some lean early seasons, he went on to train more successfully with improving stable records.

A decade later, he nearly crowned as the champion trainer just missing be only a 3/4 length at the final race of the season finale.

1993-06-13_10 Biancone who had no winner for months won by MY HOME TOWN (A S Cruz ) beating Lawrie‘s INNOVATION (D Gauci ).

He established a reputation as a dedicated horseman noted for integrity and consistent performance.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Season —– Wins —– Total Stakes

1981-1982 — 6 — $639,800 — — ($643,120)

1982-1983 — 10 — $1,030,400 — ($1,052,000)

1983-1984 — 19 — $2,186,150 — ($2,201,150)

1984-1985 — 23 — $2,946,775 — (22 — $2,851,000)

1985-1986 — 29 — $3,663,438

1986-1987 — 38 — $5,775,775

1987-1988 — 26 — $5,280,986

1988-1989 — 27 — $5,555,670

1989-1990 — 35 — $7,659,340

1990-1991 — 26 — $7,585,340

1991-1992 — 29 — $10,477,820

1992-1993 — 39 — $16,943,700

1993-1994 — 38 — $19,953,753 — ($19,953,752.50)

1994-1995 — 27 — $17,937,410 — ($17,937,409.50)

1995-1996 — 29 — $16,679,914

1996-1997 — 38 — $24,994,110

1997-1998 — 34 — $26,410,462.50

1998-1999 — 34 — $21,750,275

1999-2000 — 38 — $25,938,418

2000-2001 — 32 — $27,585,930

2001-2002 — 28 — $24,003,475

2002-2003 — 32 — $24,539,335

 

22 seasons as trainer, 637 winners saddled

Group and trophy races including:

 

1985-1986

1986-03-29_5 Kukri Trophy – GEM OF INDIA – P Leyshan

1986-04-19_6 Queen Elizabeth II Cup – POWERHOUSE – G Palmer

1986-11-09_4 Sha Tin Trophy – GIACOMETTI – R Vance

 

1987-1988

1988-05-21_4 Queen Mother‘s Cup – ALWAYS WIN A S Cruz

 

1992-1993

1993-02-07_4 Hong Kong Club Challenge Cup– SUPER FIT – D Gauci

1993-03-07_6 Centenary Cup – KADBRIDGE – D Gauci

1993-04-10_3 Centenary Trophy – SUPER FIT – J Marshall

1993-10-31_4 The Remy X O Cup – SUPER FIT – D Penna

 

1993-1994

1994-01-01_4 Chinese Club Cup – NITROGEN – D Gauci

1994-02-27_4 Hong Kong Derby – SUPER FIT – G Mosse

 

1994-1995

1995-05-27_7 Queen Mother‘s Cup – CRICKET LORD – L O’Sullivan

 

1996-1997

1996-11-20_3 Happy Valley Trophy – WINNING PARTNERS – W Woods

1996-11-26_3 Ladies Purse – CHINA CRUISE – W Woods

1997-03-31_7 Centurion Trophy – EN RAPPORT – W Woods

 

1999-2000

1999-02-27_7 Sandown Park Challenge Cup – EN RAPPORT – K C Tsang

 

2001-2002

2001-01-14_9 Hong Kong Club Cup – STOIC – W Woods

 

2002-2003

2003-04-09_8 St George Challenge Cup – SAGACIOUS – G Mosse

 

2003-06-11_3, Lawrie‘s last winner was ROUND THE WORLD (CA227) ridden by D Beasley.

2003-06-22_7, Lawrie‘s last horse saddled was MARANELLO (C239) ridden by M W Leung, 4th placed.

 

He passed on to his son Caspar the gift of life as a racehorse trainer, built on the pillars of family, passion and integrity.

Lawrie recalled the quiet moment he had with his son before handing over the reins.

‘I told Caspar the same things my father told me. An ounce of luck is worth a ton of judgment, always beware of the glorious uncertainty of racing, and at all times look after your horses and the person who pays the bills.’

 

 

SUMMARY

 

With Caspar at the helm, the name Fownes is on the champion trainers’ honour roll once again, and a great family tradition has been secured.

 

2015-04-09 morning, Mr Lawrie Fownes, aged 77, passed away at his home in Tai Po.

A family statement issued read:

“Beloved father, husband and friend to many, died peacefully surrounded by his loving devoted wife Pamela, his three children – Fenella, Stephanie and Caspar – and his grandchildren. He was dearly loved and will be deeply missed. A true champion till the end.”

 

“He was my father, but also my mentor and my best friend,” Caspar Fownes said.

“The last few days he was fighting and his mind was so sharp until the end, but his body failed him. He was doing it tough, but he has been remarkable.”

FATHER, MENTOR, BEST FRIEND: Caspar Fownes’ emotional tribute

Fenella and Stephanie said their father would be remembered for his “generous spirit, love for his family and tremendous work ethic”.

“We are honoured and proud to call him dad,” they said.

 

“I believe I speak for everyone at the Hong Kong Jockey Club when I say that I am saddened to learn of the passing of Lawrie Fownes. Lawrie was a popular and knowledgeable horseman who was an asset to the Hong Kong racing scene for over thirty years. He will be greatly missed. I wish to extend the Club’s deep condolences, as well as my own, to Lawrie’s family at this time. He was a real gentleman and respected by all in the racing industry,” said Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

 

Cyrus Madan, a former chairman of the Royal Calcutta Turf Club, was a close friend of Fownes and said the trainer‘s success in Hong Kong was a point of pride for many Indians.

“We will always remember him as champion trainer from the ‘City of Joy’, but Indian racing will in many ways be in his debt, as he was the first professional of the turf from India to have travelled out of the country and made a success of his life as a trainer abroad,” he said.

“It was almost as if he had put Calcutta and Indian racing on the international racing map. He had a zest for life and he lived it to the full.”

 

 

REFERENCE

 

Records are slightly different between 《Hongkong Professional Racing Data 1971-1997》by Greenstreet Kan and other Trainer Statistics.

 

 

 

RELATED LINK

 

Video Showcase
Photo Gallery

 

Acknowledgment to HKJC Racing Registry for offering relevant records.

 

 

 


 

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